‘And so I tell you that I will send you prophets and wise men and teachers; you will kill some of them, crucify others, and whip others in the synagogues and chase them from town to town. As a result, the punishment for the murder of all innocent men will fall on you, from the murder of innocent Abel to the murder of Zachariah son on Berachiah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.’ (verses 34,35)
Read: Matthew 23:27-39
I’ve sometimes wondered why the Pharisees and the Scribes were the bad guys in the Bible. Sure, they made mistakes, but don’t we all?
These guys knew the Scriptures and knew God’s laws better than anyone. They had devoted their lives to interpreting God’s message and teaching others how to live. But they ended up killing the God they claimed to serve. They broke their own laws to kill the only innocent person that ever lived. And just like their ancestors did in killing all the prophets, these Jewish leaders claimed they were doing what was best for the people. But their ideas about what was best for the people weren’t the same as God’s, whom they were supposed to be serving.
I wonder how often we can fall into the same trap of doing what we think is best for others or ourselves, as if God didn’t want what was best for all people. You too are called to serve God, knowing that he wants to give you joy and peace.
Dear Lord, all your actions are motivated by love for us. Keep reminding me that the best way I can serve others and myself is by serving you. Amen.
by Jorg Ernst, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
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